Emporia, Kansas -- State and federal officials announced today that more than $1.3 million in disaster assistance has been approved to aid victims of the severe ice storms that devastated 68 Kansas and Missouri counties beginning January 29.
The assistance, coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and provided by federal, state and voluntary agencies has been granted to individuals, families and businesses affected by the storms.
State and federal authorities strongly urge anyone in the 68 combined Kansas and Missouri counties affected by this storm to apply for disaster aid. Calling the FEMA's tele-registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) is the first and most important step in applying for aid. For speech- or hearing-impaired, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585.
In the nine days since the disaster was declared on February 6, almost 13,000 applicants have called the registration number to seek help. More than 1,000 applications are being taken daily.
A large part of the response has been grants from FEMA's Disaster Housing program to assist persons who were unable to stay in their homes due to loss of heat and electricity and had to find alternative living accommodations until power was restored, or were required to make minimal repairs to make the home habitable.
Disaster officials believe that there are still a number of people who had to leave their homes and check into hotels and motels while the power was out who have not yet requested help. If they reside in one of the declared counties, they may be eligible for aid and should apply to FEMA for disaster assistance.
Kansas and Missouri have implemented the Individual and Family Grant program that provides grants for serious disaster related needs not covered by other assistance programs or insurance, such as medical, funeral, cleaning and sanitation, emergency clothing, home repairs, and transportation. To date 4,758 applicants have been referred to this program.
Both states are also implementing a special Disaster Unemployment Assistance program for people who lost wages due to the ice storms. This program may provide payments to persons not normally covered by unemployment insurance such as farmers, ranchers and self-employed workers. Application may be made at the local unemployment office.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has forwarded more than 8,000 applications to storm victims for home repair loans, small business loans, and loans to assist businesses suffering economic injury from this disaster. The first step in applying for SBA loans is calling the FEMA toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
There are approximately 250 highly skilled state and federal personnel working in Disaster Field Offices in Kansas and Missouri. Many will remain in the area until all of the victims have been assisted.
Disaster Recovery Centers have been opened in Kansas City, Ks., at The Argentine Community Center, 2800 Metropolitan Ave., and in Overland Park at National American University, Overland Park Extension, 10310 Mastin.
Two Disaster Recovery Centers are located in Kansas City, Mo. at Benjamin Plaza Shopping Center, 8938-E Hillcrest Road, and Northland Neighborhoods Inc., 5312 N.E. Chouteau Trafficway. An additional Disaster Recovery Center is open in Independence at Palmer School, 218 N. Pleasant Street.
More than 20 voluntary agencies from community, faith based and national organizations are working with government agencies and local community groups to identify issues, concerns, and long-term recovery needs and develop solutions to address these issues as they arrive.
Officials stress that the only way for people in need to access any of these programs is by calling the FEMA registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).